Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tips to Naturally Kick that Cold!

Something ugly's in the air... Yes, a cold is on the loose! Apparenly Mr. Microbe didn't want to miss out on all the fun fall festivities and decided to arrive early to the party! Rude...

Several causalities have taken the fall just within the past 48 hours and I just finished my own little battle with the beast. After years of weeks-long viral misery, I decided I had enough. I hunted down some nutrition-based actions I could take and found some natural remedies that can kick that cold sooner than later. This is what I learned:

Eat some things, don't eat others, and rest your brains out.  

To Eat: 
Ginger, garlic, onions, mushrooms, lemon, and honey. Meet your new "recovery room" friends!

Not mine

Yes, we know Vitamin C, liquids, and fruit-fruit-fruit are the claimed "heroes" against the incurable common cold. But after a little internet research I found out there's more we can do! Vitamin C is great for prevention, but once the virus sets in your body is going to heal much faster with antiviral and antiobiotic food sources! That's where potent goodies like ginger, garlic, and onions come in. Try to eat them raw or as close to raw as you can. Hold your nose and gulp down a concoction of the stuff if you have to; it's your new "medicine!"

To Not Eat:
Refined grains, processed food, and sugar.

I know it won't be hard to convince you to avoid some foods. If you're anything like me when ill, you probably don't want ANY food! But there are a few culprits in particular that will inhibit your immune system from operating at peak performance. Sugar is a big culprit. Many studies show that sugar consumption can actually shut the immune system down for extensive periods of time. Do your white blood cells a favor: skip the sweets (Hint: refined grains turn to sugar in the body).

Usually I'm a 14-days-or-more cold-sufferer. But after taking a proactive approach with the above methods, my little intruder only lasted 4 days! That's a record breaker, so something must have worked.

As soon as you feel those first cold symptoms, try the following: 

1). Drink Lemon, Honey, Ginger, and Cinnamon tea around the clock!
Mix 1/2 lemon juice, 1 tsp of honey, 1 tsp of grated ginger, and a dash of cinnamon in hot water with a decaf green, black, chamomile or cinnamon tea bag. Let sit for 10 min or so. Strain, drink, and drink again! Then drink some more. (There are also tons of recipes for this miracle tea across the web).

2). Eat as much garlic, onion, ginger, and mushroom foods as you can lay your hands on! Throw lots of healthy greens into the mix, too. With a friend's help, I concocted a chicken-free "Sick Soup" that really seemed to do the trick!

- 4 cups low sodium veggie broth
- 2 small onions or 1 large, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms (shitake are said to be particularly effective)
- 3-4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1.5 teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1-2 cups kale or chinese broccoli, chopped
- Splash of low-sodium soy sauce
- Spices: Garlic, onion, Italian seasoning, cumin, and pepper to taste
- 1/2 can chickpeas or other white bean

Throw together in a med pot, adding heat-sensitive greens last, and warm on medium-high heat until just hot.

This slapdash soup was actually delicious! I'd probably eat it any old time!

3). Rest, rest, rest! I've found from personal experience that sleep is your #1 friend when it comes to giving your body virus-fighting downtime. My dad used to actually yell at me if I got up to do things around the house after my fever or symptoms finally let up. Sure enough, my symptoms would come back full force after a few hours of being up and about. Pretty much consider yourself couch putty and only get up to drink more tea, eat more soup, and use the loo.

I hope this helps and that any virus-beset friends feel better soon! The sooner you start on these tactics, the faster they'll probably work. While our best prevention from virus woes is an all-year high nutrient, low-sugar diet, this emergency "kit" can certainly help too! If you try these methods, let me know how it goes. :)

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